• Kyodo


The Japan Rugby Football Union has started negotiations over a contract extension for Brave Blossoms head coach Jamie Joseph as Rugby World Cup fever sweeps across the host nation, sources familiar with the matter said Monday.

According to sources, the JRFU and Joseph are discussing terms of the deal, and the 49-year-old New Zealander has been open to talking about changes to his existing deal with the Japan national side, which is set to expire at the end of December.

Joseph has enhanced his growing reputation as Japan, which now leads Pool A with two wins at the ongoing tournament, stunned Ireland on Saturday to pull off another upset and put itself in pole position to reach the knockout stages for the first time.

Japan also beat Russia in the opening game of the six-week tournament on Sept. 20.

The sources said the JRFU is hoping to make progress in contract extension talks after seeing where Japan stands after the pool phase. Japan faces Samoa on Oct. 5 and Scotland on Oct. 13.

Joseph won 20 caps for New Zealand’s All Blacks before going on to have a second international career with Japan, which he represented nine times in 1999. He coached the Highlanders from 2010 until the end of the Super Rugby season in 2016, then took the reins from Eddie Jones in Japan.

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